Jazeman Jaafar this afternoon regained the lead of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series thanks to a stirring drive to second place in the opening race of the Pau Grand Prix weekend. The overall winner was Italy’s Raffaele Marciello, one of the FIA Euro F3 class runners.
Marciello led from pole position to chequered flag for the Prema Powerteam, pulling clear initially of his pursuers Daniel Juncadella and Pascal Wehrlein, and later from Jaafar, who made a bid to wrest the lead from Raffaele at the start of the 12th lap.
Jaafar gained his chance after Juncadella and Wehrlein tangled on the ninth lap at the Lycee hairpin as they disputed second; although the impact was light their cars all but blocked the track, causing a mini traffic jam and bringing out the safety car for three laps.
Promoted to second after a slowish start dropped him to fourth on the opening lap, Jaafar wasted no time in going on the offensive when they track was cleared. “I didn’t really have a good start,” said the Malaysian Carlin driver. “Then I had a big lock-up and lost a bit of time there. Then I saw the yellow flags and was quite shocked to see who had crashed. Then I just focused as much as I could on the restart but I didn’t have as much speed as I needed. Raffaele drove really well and deserved the win. It’s been a good weekend and the team has worked really well.”
The traffic chaos caused by the ninth-lap shunt set off a chain reaction down the pack, with several minor bangs as drivers battled to slow to a stop in time. Among the victims was Fortec’s Pipo Derani, who had been holding ninth; the Brazilian was forced to the pits with his damaged car and an early retirement.
His team-mate Alex Lynn endured a scare also. “I was quite lucky because I stalled into the hairpin and it wouldn’t fire up initially. I had to reset everything and then it fired up second time, which was a real Godsend.” Lynn, who had been running fifth from the outset, was promoted to third by the incident and continued in that slot to the end, just ahead of Carlin’s Jack Harvey.
Said Harvey: “Everybody stopped into the hairpin and it was hard to slow down and I hit another car. To finish with a broken front wing and a bent trackrod is pretty good.” Jack’s team-mates Carlos Sainz and Harry Tincknell were next up, ahead of Fortec man Felix Serralles and Double R’s Fahmi Ilyas, who picked up several places on lap nine by threading his way neatly through the hairpin traffic jam. Hannes van Asseldonk, Pietro Fantin and Nick McBride completed the British F3 top 10.
Australia’s Spike Goddard enjoyed an untroubled run to National class victory after the T-Sport man’s class rival Duvashen Padayachee failed to make it away from the startline due to mechanical problems.
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